Since launching in 2015, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) has expanded from supporting a few countries that were most in need of improving their health systems to supporting 27 countries total. There has been clear progress — and for the first time since launching, stakeholders, governments, and representatives from recipient countries will join togther at the GFF replenishtment conference on Nov. 6.
“The replenishment is really an opportunity to mobilize resources and, in our case, mobilize resources for women, children, and adolescents, for their health and nutrition,” Mariam Claeson, the director of the GFF, told Global Citizen. “It's very important to take stock and learn from those first countries … to then expand to 23 more.”
Unlike some fundraising events, this replenishment event isn’t an annual one. The goal is to raise $1 billion through the conference, and ultimately $2 billion in total in new support over the 2018-2023 period.
“We also don't think that that's something that we will continue to do ... on a regular basis, because what we'll be trying to do is really mobilize money now,” Claeson said.
All eyes are now focused on accelerating progress to achieve Global Goals by 2030 and investing in maternal health is one way to do that.
The replenishment event will take place in Oslo, Norway. Norway showed its leadership at the Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 29 when Minister Nikolai Astrup took to the stage and announced Norway’s commitment of $360 million through to 2023 to the GFF.
The GFF is expecting other donor governments to make financial commitments at the conference next week. It's also hoping that the conference will incite people to mobilize and take a stand for women, children, and adolescents around the world.
Claeson points to the Global Citizen Festival in New York at the end of September as an ideal model. The government of Norway made its financial commitments to maternal health and other pressing issues, like the environment, clear.
“It was a beautiful example of voice activism and financing,” she said.
She hopes more people will be following Norway’s example and that governments will commit significant resources to the fund.
Countries with a high burden are expected at the conference to share their experiences, and to explain how they will use their own resources to reach health-related goals.
The event will be co-hosted by the government of Burkina Faso, the World Bank Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates has long since been a strong advocate for women and girls and Cleason called Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, the president of Burkina Faso, a visionary who cares about his people and access to reproductive health and basic services.
It’s been three years since world leaders came together to commit to the GFF in 2015. Now is the time to excel when it comes to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We feel this is good timing right now because there’s always a sense of an urgency for us,” Claeson said. “It's about life and death. If we can't make a difference then we will continue to have 5 million mothers newborn and children die every year. That’s why we need to have this event now. We want to be as successful as possible [on Nov. 6th] to to start to change direction.”